Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from August, 2018

Ben Boogz of 2 Hungry Bros. & Doc Reevez Talk Second Collaborative Full-length Thousand Islands of DEATH (The Witzard Interview)

Ben Boogz, along with his production partner Deep, has been a long-time collaborator and affiliate of Stones Throw emcee, Homeboy Sandman. I can remember, long before Sandman ever signed with Stones Throw, hearing 2 Hungry Bros.-produced "The Carpenter" from his 2010 album, The Good Sun; I was still getting my feet wet with Hip-Hop and deciding what I did and didn't like, but I can distinctly remember having my mind blown by Homeboy Sandman's seemingly effortless rhymes weaving through 2HB's Jazzy, horn-accented beat. Fast-forward a few years to 2017: Ben Boogz of 2 Hungry Bros. produced "Pizza & Burgers" from Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman's third collaborative EP for Stones Throw/Rhymesayers, TRIPLE FAT LICE. Somehow, I was lucky enough to effectively link up with Ben Boogz and conduct an impromptu 16-question interview on "Pizza & Burgers," via Facebook Messenger AKA a FB DM Q&A.

Ben has since released a Valentine's D…

Various Artists III: How Compilations Influenced a Generation - Punx Unite 1-3 Penned By: John E. Swan (Charged/SideOneDummy Records)

INTRODUCTION: Maybe, it's in the gray hairs that I've started finding in my thinning hair. Maybe, it's that dreaded third decade of life that seems to have been rearing it's ugly face around every corner. Maybe, it's a quarter life crisis, but something has been keeping me up at night. I sometimes, stay awake into the early hours of the morning spinning records and fumbling with CD jackets from high school, grasping hold of my youth for dear life. I search out elusive first presses of albums I'd somehow, lost to time, hoping that they'll somehow, tighten the thread leading from middle school to adulthood.

To be clear, I'm not fishing my torn band T-shirts or bondage pants from the depths of my closet, but as I make the transition into my 30's, shedding roommates and getting oil changes at regularly scheduled intervals, I can't help ruminating on where these albums came from and how they've shaped me. I can't help begging the question, &…

Richmond, Virginia 5-piece Instrumental Band Butcher Brown Let Loose AfroKuti: A Tribute to Fela - Digital EP (Jellowstone Studios)

AfroKuti: A Tribute to Fela by Butcher Brown
DJ Harrison is a Richmond, Virginia-based producer and multi-instrumentalist AKA Devonne Harris, who's now signed to Stones Throw Records. Last year, Stones Throw quietly released Harrison's self-produced debut, HazyMoods, which was recorded directly to tape in his living room/home studio. Not unlike his fellow Virginians Pharrell, Chad Hugo, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, and Clipse, DJ Harrison often blurs the line between Hip-Hop, R&B, Funk, Soul, and Rock "N" Roll. In a similar vein to Pharrell & Chad Hugo's The Neptunes/N*E*R*D, Harris also, moonlights as one-fifth of his own Virginia-based genre-eschewing band, Butcher Brown. Its 5-piece core line-up consists of guitarist Morgan Burrs, drummer Corey Fonville, bassist Andrew Randazzo, sax & trumpet player Marcus Tenney, and of course, DJ Harrison contributing keys, production, engineering, etc. According to Stones Throw, DJ Harrison "lives and works in

Melinda Camille, John Robinson & Pat Van Dyke Re-emerge As Kiss The Sky with "Sugar Pie" B/W "Glory" 7-inch (ILL ADRENALINE RECORDS)

Kiss The Sky - "Sugar Pie" b/w "Glory" by Kiss The Sky (Melinda Camille, John Robinson, and Pat Van Dyke)
It's been quite the busy year (so far) for Jersey City-based drummer, producer, composer, band leader, and multi-instrumentalist Pat Van Dyke; just this past May, PVD launched his own imprint, Stereo Vision Recordings, with an aptly-titled release called Stereo Vision Music Library, Vol. 1, which was soon followed by a proper full-length, Hello, Summer, before the end of June. Since The Witzard first covered 2016's PVD Breaks, Vol. 1 & RE: Crates 001—as well as Animal Ventura's PVD-produced Forrest St. EP—Van Dyke has released a number of collections, including: Pat Van Dyke / DJ Spinna Limited Edition 7" Vinyl, PVD Breaks, Vol. II, Let The Horns Blow - Remixes, PVD Breaks, Vol. II 12" 45RPM Vinyl, and lastly, PVD Breaks, Vol 3​.​88. Now, Pat Van Dyke has returned with a newly-minted Jazz/Hip-Hop trio dubbed Kiss The Sky with vocalist

Baltimore Beat-maker & Producer URBN SHMN Lets Loose DatPiff & Bandcamp-exclusive Lor Shaman Mixtape (781705 Records DK)

Lor Shaman by URBN SHMN
URBN SHMN (pronounced "Urban Shaman") AKA KendalL Ca$h is a Baltimore-based producer/beat-maker originally hailing from DMV—otherwise known as District (DC)/Maryland/Virginia—who was formerly a B-more area DJ. I actually, first heard about URBN SHMN earlier this morning, after long-time The Witzard affiliate and collaborator John "Jumbled" Bachman FWD'ed me an email from The Urban Shaman himself; fittingly titled "Urbn Shmn is taking lofi to Datpiff," it contained URBN SHMN's latest mixtape, Lor Shaman. It's been widely referred to as a "summer '18 mixtape" by URBN SHMN himself and contains remixes of chart-topping hits by Childish Gambino, Desiigner, Drake, Future, Gucci Mane, Lil Yachty, Migos, Rihanna, and more. While showcased on a recent episode of Baltimore FLIPS.URBN SHMN readily shared his sources of inspiration and influence, which includes Flying Lotus, Madlib, J Dilla, and Teebs and these artists…

New Kingdom's Nosaj Re-emerges with "NEW KINGDOM/ORIGINAL CONCEPT" & "RUN-DMC/BAD BRAINS" Covers (Dub Ditch Picnic)

Jason Furlow is a Brooklyn-based emcee, producer, and musician also known as Nature Boy Jim Kelly and Nosaj The Great. Although, Furlow is likely, best known as Nosaj, 1/3 of Psychedelic Hip-Hop/Rap-Rock group, New Kingdom. I, actually, only very recently learned about Nosaj & New Kingdom after publishing UK beat-maker/producer LongDistanceDan's Beat-maker Bedrock column, which highlighted their 1993 debut, Heavy Load. Since New Kingdom's 1996 disbandment, Jason Furlow has worked with everyone from Tricky to The Freak Brothers, David Byrne (Talking Heads) to Morcheeba, Lyricist Lounge to Bill Laswell/Material, Buckethead to CX KiDTRONiK, and more. Furlow released a limited edition 2-track cassingle last year under his government name called "Last Man Standing" B/W "Modern Man" on Canadian cassette/CD imprint Dub Ditch Picnic, which is still currently available to stream or download on the label's Bandcamp. In recent years, Nosaj has re-emerged on In…

"SERVED WELL SINCE 2017:" Introducing... WAXNERDS: A UK-based Hip-Hop Imprint & 26-member Collective (Label Spotlight)

WAXNERDS 1.5/4.5 by Waxnerds
Waxnerds is a 26-member UK-based record label and Hip-Hop collective. It consists of members DJ Mark-One AKA Mark-Oner AKA Mark-Onerism (@markonerism_waxnerd_no.1) Matt Love, Jamez Gant, Danny Bounce, Nic_Good_Life, DJ Dan Ball, Fatwax45, Slick_DWG, Tommy T, DJ Sam-B, DJ Benny-Ben, Matt_P8S, Kev Dinked, Pooky_DJ, Mojaxx-DJ City, DJ Flipout, DJ Deebow, MarkJames-Brazil, Brett-JayB, Funkymunky66, Vinyl-Trooper, Sie-Vulture, Jeyone, Real-One, Shoesy, and DJ Samo. First formed by Mark-One(r) in 2014 as an Instagram Chat Group, Waxnerds quickly morphed into a full-fledged label and functioning collective. "Moving forward, the combined enthusiasm of Mark-One, Matt Love & Jamez Gant got the label up and running..." Waxnerds' Bandcamp page charismatically explains. Mark-One tells The Witzard that over time, each of Waxnerds' 26 crew members will have an opportunity to release their own 7-inch/digital single on the ever-evolving imprint. Since…

Sunny & The Sunliners' Key-Loc Singles "Get Down" & "Cross My Heart" Re-issued for The First Time In 50 Years (Big Crown Records)

Get Down b/w Cross My Heart by Sunny & The Sunliners
Sunny & The Sunliners were a San Antonio-based Chicano Soul band fronted by Sunny Ozuna that were originally active from about 1964-81 or 1988. Sunny & The Sunliners consisted of members Jimmy Edward, Amos Johnson, Jr. Johnny Zaragosa, and of course, namesake Sunny Ozuna, as well as various members through the years. The Sunliners released countless albums and singles on labels and imprints such as Tear Drop, Crazy Cajun, Freddie Records, Scorpio Productions, Inc. Okeh Records, Three M Records, Black-Whale Records, London Records, Darla, and Ozuna & Zaragosa's own imprint, Key-Loc. Sunny & The Sunliners' plethora of Funk-oozing material touches on styles ranging from Tejano to Rock "N" Roll, Soul/Funk to Latin-American, Jazz to Pop, etc. over their nearly 20-year career. However, almost 30 years after their disbandment, Sunny & The Sunliners garnered a bit of a career resurgence, as recently …

The Witzard's Rap EP Wrap-up Feat. Bo Jankans & DJ Ragz, Bully Preston, Creign, Jaubi, Mugwampers & Zilla Rocca (August 2018 Edition)

Over the course of the past month or so, there have been a plethora of solid Hip-Hop EP's released online; a quick, concise 30-minutes or less format that's seemingly, replaced the mixtape/"street album" format of years passed to become your favorite underground rapper/producer's go-to promotional tool. Here, for this second edition of The Witzard's Rap EP Wrap-up, we'll be profiling five EP's released throughout August 2018, as well as one released at the end of July that was honestly, way too dope to not include! Featured below, in no particular order, are EP's from the likes of Bo Jankans & DJ Ragz, Bully Preston (Jumbled & dwell,) Creign AKA Mantis The Miasma, Jaubi, Mugwampers ('i's & SaIGO,) and Zilla Rocca. Along with a brief write-up on each release, you'll find a select track from each EP, as well purchase links to buy or stream online. If this one goes well, we'll plan to publish an edition of The Witzard'…

Philly's Own Beat-twisting Producer & Multi-instrumentalist Rolled Gold Assembles Beat-maker Bedrock #23 (Rolled Gold Productions)

"Rolled Gold is a soulful Hip-Hop producer from Philadelphia, who has a versatile, life-long musical resume, ranging from Jazz to Punk Rock bands, Trap beats to live Neo-Soul groups, and more. His style has influence from Hip-Hop producers, such as J Dilla, RZA, and MF DOOM, as well as the timeless catalogs of Motown, Stax & [Philadelphia International Records]. While he has been sampling for most of his production, so far, this past year has been spent composing and recording friends and family to use as sample material. His next releases will be instrumental/remix EP's and a compilation album, all constructed from these original samples and compositions... These albums, in no specific order, are the first that come to his mind in his influence and evolution as a musician over the years."
Rolled Gold's Healthy Ass Breakfast by Rolled Gold
A. Madlib - Beat Konducta: Movie Scenes, Vol. 1-2 (2006)

"This is the first album I heard, at age 13, that really made me …

3 Feet High & Rising: Inglewood-based Emcee LOW BLOW Readies Gospel, Funk & Soul-steeped First Book of Timothy (Common Good Records)

First Book of Timothy by Low Blow
Since its 2017 inception, LA-based imprint Common Good Records has released a string of continually phenomenal records and tapes, including: Te'Amir Sweeney's Tiger Breaks 45 + drum kit, Drtysoap's Merry Chrithmith, Unown & DJ Ragz's Pasta & Wings cassette, and Jake Najor's D$RTY M$NEY BREAKS 45 + drum kit. Plus, label co-founder J.D. (@OlogistBBB) has been extremely hospitable and supportive of both myself and The Witzard; even mixing and sequencing Mitchell Kezin's festive Mitchell's 'SOUL SISTA' Holiday Mix for The Witzard extremely last-minute! Now, J.D. & Common Good Records have announced their next proper release: Low Blow's full-length debut, First Book of Timothy. "Soulful, West Coast Hip-Hop. A sound unique unto itself. A sound that recalls a classic era nostalgia. A sound steeped in the deep roots of Gospel, Funk, and Soul. Low Blow [@thereallowblow] builds on that tradition with his …

From The Depths of Bikini Bottom... DJ Cummerbund Reviews SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical (The Witzard Exclusive)

DJ Cummerbund is a mash-up artist and video remixer hailing from New York. He describes himself as the "Reigning World Mash-up Champion (2018-present,) Celebrity, Philanthropist & Dapper Man," as well as readily proclaiming he's "the greatest DJ on the entire planet!" The Witzard first encountered DJ Cummerbund back in Dec. 2016, after someone posted his phenomenal Foo Fighters/Rick James mash-up, "Freaktender," online. I soon reached out to the email address listed on Cummerbund's YouTube page and before long, was in contact with his "handler," J. Gary Gildersleeve at Gildersleeve Artist Management; although, over the past two years, I've had very little contact with DJ Cummerbund himself... until very recently. I noticed on Instagram—looking back, I believe, in real-time—that @djcummerbund had recently attended a showing of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical AKA The SpongeBob Musical at The Palace Theatre in New York.

T…

Ghostface Killah & Big Ghost Ltd Join Forces for The Lost Tapes & "Saigon Velour" (Embassy Mix) Feat. Snoop Dogg, E-40 & La The Darkman

Wu-Tang Clan emcee Ghostface Killah and Internet personality Big Ghost Ltd AKA Cocaine Biceps AKA The Illustrious Thor Molecules AKA The Infamous Galaxy Knuckles AKA Shampoo Bracelets The Panty-melter AKA The Mighty Hands of Zeus, believe it or not, have a long, strange history together. In his earliest aughts as a sh*t-talking writer/music critic around 2010-11, Big Ghost (then-Big Ghostface) was actually, widely believed to be Ghostface Killah; due in part to his 2011 Ayo The Top 10 Softest N****s In The Game! AKA GHOSTFACE KILLAH: TOP 10 SOFTEST RAPPERS IN THE GAME list. Ghostface Killah AKA Tony Starks AKA Ironman AKA Pretty Toney AKA Starky Love AKA The Wallabee Champ AKA Ghost Deini/Ghostdini AKA Sun God has continually released strong solo efforts and has been my personal favorite Wu-Tang swordsmen for the last 15+ years. Ghost was one of the first Wu-Tang/Killa Beez emcees to work with outside producers and in recent years, has worked with Apollo Brown, Adrian Younge, BADBADNO…

Brooklyn's "noGENRE" Quintet Phony Ppl Return with Soul, Funk, Hip-Hop & R&B-inflected Single "Before You Get a Boyfriend" (300 Entertainment)

"The band we know as Phony Ppl is a mix of people, time, and sound that's been nurtured over generations in Brooklyn" currently consisting of members: Elbee Thrie on vocals, Elijah Rawk on lead guitar, Matt "Maffyuu" Byas on drums, Aja Grant on keyboards, and Bari Bass on, of course, bass guitar. Since forming in 2009—amidst self-releasing 3 albums and an EP on Phony PPL LLCPhony Ppl have had the unique opportunity to perform alongside Domo Genesis, Erykah Badu, Fetty Wap, Kali Uchis, Mac Miller, Odd Future, Princess Nokia, The Roots, Snake Hips, and more. Now, following a brief hiatus, Phony Ppl have returned with their first new material since Yesterday's Tomorrow (2015.) Last week, okayplayer premiered "Before You Get a Boyfriend," which effortlessly blends together Soul, Funk, Hip-Hop, and R&B-leaning sounds into a "noGENRE" musical mix the site deems "an ice-cold summer daydream." Phony Ppl's self-produced and Qm…